The previous-generation Chevy Colorado isn't the first truck off-roaders flock to when looking for a build platform. It's a solid little pickup, for sure, but with other 4x4s so numerous and popular, it gets overshadowed. One Colorado with a unique parts list caught our eye, though, as along with the typical new wheels and big tires, it has the enticing addition of a straight axle up front. More importantly, the Chevy's stock engine has been replaced with something way out of left field: a turbocharged K20 four-cylinder from Honda.
Now, this isn't like taking a C6 Corvette and replacing the well-liked LS3 with a K24, but it's a fun swap nonetheless. The truck itself has some pretty sweet aesthetics going for it, too, and the K20 is only part of the picture.
The rear axle, for instance, has been changed with a 14-bolt unit from GM, a popular option for off-roaders that's perfect for large diameter off-road tires, featuring a sturdy 10.5-inch ring gear. The front axle completely replaces the truck's stock independent suspension, and it's a Dana Super 60—some real deified four-wheeling hardware. Similar to the 14-bolt rear end, it's well suited for the task at hand, and more than strong enough to handle the output from the boosted 2.0-liter.
The K20A2 is fed by a Garret GTX3071 turbo which sends power through a three-speed TH400 automatic transmission to all four 42-inch tires. The truck used to have 39s, but that just wasn't cutting it. With all of these new parts, builder Josiah Backus says the truck weighs around 5,200 pounds. That's a lot for a Colorado, but not that much for a truck this sturdy, and with this kind of capability.
Why did Backus pick a Colorado in the first place? As it turns out, he bought the blown-up, two-wheel-drive shell several months ago because he liked the styling. "[I] figured I could make one look cool," he told us. The K20 swap had similarly simple justifications. "Just because I love Hondas and [Honda] motors," he explained. "That's my fourth honda motor in a truck."
Backus went on to explain that he chose a two-wheel drive because it'd make the front axle swamp simpler, noting that part of the build worked out smoothly. Similarly, he said the K20 fit nicely in the engine bay. It was almost like a match made in heaven.
As far as future plans for the truck go, Backus says he's very happy with the way it is now, and the only thing he really wants to get is lower transfer case gears. Besides that, it's served him well and to his credit, he was right—he definitely made the Chevy truck look the part.
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